There are some things in life you just have to do, and High Tea is one of them… well in our humble travelling opinion, that is. We try and partake in this time-honoured tradition in as many fabulous places as possible.
High Tea is described as (according to dictionary.com) "a late afternoon or early evening meal similar to a light supper." But i'’s so much more that that. It's pure indulgence, enabling the momentary departure from normal by being transported into a bygone era, that really plays the heartstrings. High Tea kind of works hand in hand with the old time dances that used to be standard operating procedure on a Saturday night. High Tea is something that has to be experienced to be believed. And it certainly doesn't do your taste buds any harm either!
When we walked into the foyer of the pink Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town, we knew we were in the right place, as you can see from the photo. That's Daughter standing next to one of the selection of gourmet delights that stand High Tea out from the crowd. Yes, it is a high-class afternoon tea where you get to sit for a few hours, and try everything that's within your reach. It really is a marvellous experience, and the most decadent version of "having a cuppa."
Try this on for size. High Tea on the Terrace with a buffet to die for, savoury and sweet perfectly represented by cucumber sandwiches; smoked salmon sandwiches; mini tarts and quiches; crumbed mushrooms; and then onto petit fours, rows and rows of them; tortes and cheesecakes; cakes and scones; and of course, cheese and crackers.
The priceless comment of the day was when Daughter says in a rather loud'ish voice "this cheesecake is not as good as Grandma's," and you know what, she was right. "Out of the mouth of babes," the same Grandma is always known to say, meaning that children will speak the truth as they see it, without any sugar coating.
Along with the Mount Nelson in Cape Town South Africa, we have participated in High Tea at as many of the long-established historical hotels as possible; the Raffles Hotel in Singapore, the Victoria Falls Hotel in Zimbabwe, the Hotel Windsor in Melbourne, Miss Marples in Sassafras, the Rock Hotel in Gibraltar to name but a few. Rather salubrious I must say. We did try and do so at the Plaza Hotel in New York City but when we stood out the front, it was under renovation, much to our dismay. How very disappointing, especially given that Daughter wanted to visit where Eloise lived. Our ongoing plan is to continue to partake in this tradition in as many places as possible.
If you’ve not had a chance to sample High Tea, then I would highly recommend it. It’s time to dust off the Sunday best, and step into a era when being waited on with seamless precision was seen as an art form, and not just a university money-spinner filler job as the waiting profession is so often seen as today.
Or if you don’t have access to such a place, then create your own at home. Not quite the same thing, granted, but nonetheless a fine activity the whole family can play. Whipping up a scone or two, and creating the Devonshire Tea scenario is most certainly half the fun. There's nothing like being overtly decadent to get you dreaming, and momentarily believing, that you might just be somewhere else.
the entrepreneurial mother™